Elvira, Mistress of the Dark starts with cable TV horror show hostess Elvira (Cassandra Peterson who also co-wrote) having a run in with her new boss Earl Hooter (Lee McLaughlin) & getting herself fired. However Elvira doesn't care as she is about to star in her own show in Las Vegas, that is until her manager Manny (Charles Woolf) says she needs to raise $50,000 of the production costs herself. Elvira thinks she's screwed, that is until she learns that her great aunt Morgana has recently died & left her something in her will. Elvira senses money so heads for the small town of Fallwell in Massachusettes where Morgana lived. Once there Elvira discovers that she inherits Morgana's house, dog & cookbook. With no money Elvira decides to stick around & sell the house but the conservative locals think Elvira is immoral, cheap & bad for the town so lead by the righteous Chastity Pariah (Edie McClurg) they start a campaign to oust her from Fallwall. Meanwhile Elvira's evil Satan worshipping uncle Vincent (William Morgan Sheppard) is plotting to get his hands on Elvira's cookbook ,which is in fact a book of powerful spells, by any means necessary...
Directed by James Signorelli I thought Elvira, Mistress of the Dark was a decent watchable family comedy horror. I have to state straight away that I am perhaps at a disadvantage as here in the UK we have no exposure to the character Elvira unlike in the States where I think she gave introductions to horror films, right? Anyway I'm not sure as we don't, & never had, have anything like that here & I have never seen the Elvira character in anything before this. The script by Sam Egan, John Paragon & Peterson is silly & really plays the comedy elements up, I'd have perhaps preferred the horror angle to come through a bit more, I mean wasn't she a horror film hostess? Having said that it provides fair entertainment & a some mildly amusing moments here & there & at least it knows what it is & has no aspirations to be anything else other than a collection of puns, boob jokes, sexual innuendo & slapstick. As a whole Elvira, Mistress of the Dark works quite well with likable character's, just enough horror to maintain my interest & Elvira herself is pretty charismatic, very sexy in her skin tight low cut dress, high heels & I wouldn't mind her introducing my horror films. Look out for her Las Vegas show at the end where she twirls some tassel's attached to her breasts, even managing one at a time.
Director Signorelli keeps things moving at a nice pace, the jokes & puns come thick & fast & it never becomes dull or boring. There is one effective jump scene that involves a slimy creature that feels like it belongs in a different film. Forget about any violence, someone has their hand cut off with an axe & Elvira throws her high heeled shoe at someone & the heel becomes impaled in their forehead! I did think he overdid the sentimentality a little at the mushy feel good ending though.
With a healthy budget of about $7,500,000 I must admit I'm not sure where all the money went, there are few special effects, no big name actors or huge action scenes. Anyway, it's well made & Elvira's spooky house, inside & out, looks cool which probably cost a few quid to make. The acting is OK & everyone comes across as likable enough, Elvira obviously steals the show with her outfits & attitude.
Elvira, Mistress of the dark is a nice enough way to pass 95 odd minutes & offers a few amusing moments. A lot of the jokes feel dated & the overall story is weak but I still think it's worth a watch.
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